Different Categories of Water Damage

Water damage restoration is a process that takes time and there are many different variables that come into play when organizing a water mitigation plan. The property is also a factor, and what caused the water damage. There are three different categories of water damage, and they all affect a property in different ways. Depending on the category of the water damage, different plans of action will need to be taken in order to ensure the safety of the inhabitants of your property, as well as the technicians working to restore it. Different types of equipment will also need to be used, and safety guidelines will need to be set in place as well.

Here are the three different categories of water damage, what they affect, and what they are caused by:

First is Category 1 water. This is referred to as “clean” or “clear” water. This water is clean at the releasing source, and it also doesn’t pose any immediate health risks if consumed by humans. This water can become contaminated though, and that is only if it begins to mix with soils or within the floor coverings or building assemblies. A building assembly could be anything from walls, decking, or subflooring. Another factor to Category 1 water is the time and temperature. These promote the growth, and the amplification of the microorganisms that are present in the water and it can cause degradation. An example of Category 1 water could be failed supply lines on appliances, burst water pipes, or even vertically falling rainwater that builds up due to a leak.

Category 2 water is a little different than Category 1 in the fact that it does already contain some degree of contamination, and it could more than likely cause sickness, mild to severe, if it is consumed by humans. As with the first category, the time and temperature of the water are large factors that can cause the water to become more contaminated as time goes on. This water is also referred to as “grey” water.

Category 3 water is also referred to as “black water”, and contains high levels of contaminants and microorganisms. You NEVER want to consume this water, as it could cause serious illnesses and even death. An example of Category 3 water is sewage, rising flood waters from rivers and streams, and ground surface water that is flowing horizontally into a home or business. There are two ways in which water can enter a building as a result of wind or storm damage:

The first way that water can enter is through windblown rainwater. This enters as a result of damage to the roof or the wall assemblies. The second involves horizontally traveling ground water, which would be category 3 water, containing soil and silt contaminants that can make its way into structures, generally through doors or around the walls of a foundation. This ground surface water, also referred to as a storm surge, can accumulate to about several inches deep or several feet deep. Now, when a structure is partially submerged or remains very flooded for weeks on end, far more in depth procedures are required.

Mold can begin to grow in a home that has sustained water damage, and most of these funguses require five conditions in order to germinate. This usually includes, but isn’t limited to: moisture, even high humidity. This gives the spores time to latch on to the moisture and begin growing. They also need a source of organic material to feed off of, and cellulose (wood, paper, drywall) are great ways to get that. These are found abundantly in construction materials. Also, mold needs a moderate temperature, usually 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit, stagnant air, and time. The time required for mold to grow can be anywhere from several hours, to several days. Anything that can be done to control or at least minimize these conditions will prolong the time required for mold growth, and can save you loads of time and money in the long run.

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